Suffolk Democrats unveiled a new website Tuesday accusing Republican county legislature candidate John Giannott of shirking a $22,000 loan and failing to pay business and sales taxes.
Giannott is challenging Democrat for an open seat in the 7th Legislative District, which includes Patchogue, Medford, Holtsville and Blue Point.
"John Giannott was sued and ran from the taxman. Now he wants YOU to trust him with YOUR money," the top of the website reads.
The site charges Giannott with attempting to avoid a process server in 2009 after a civil judgment was filed against him by Teachers Credit Union for an unpaid loan of nearly $22,000. It also lists several outstanding tax liens against Carla Marla's Ice Cream, a Giannott-owned Bellport business.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Suffolk County Democratic Committee Chairman Rich Schaffer said it was fair game to go after Giannott on his personal finances, which Schaffer called a "symbol of irresponsibility."
"We want the voters of that district to know just how he's handled his personal finances and ask the question of whether or not they can trust him to handle the county's budget or their own tax dollars...," Schaffer said of Giannott.
Giannott, reached via email Tuesday, said the website was a low blow and he charged Calarco with resorting "to dirty politics to try to distract voters from the problems he's helped to create."
Calarco, of Patchogue, is currently the chief of staff for Legis. Jack Eddington, who is for re-election in the 7th District.
As to the substance on the website, Giannott said the "difficult economy" presented many challenges for him and his wife, Jenni. Giannott opened Bellport restaurant Porters on the lane in 2008 just as the financial sector was about to crater.
"As a result, we fell behind on a few bills," Giannott said. "My wife and I worked around the clock, sometimes twenty hours per day, to get the restaurant off the ground. In time, the restaurant became a success and any debt we owed has been paid in full, for several years now."